Seafarers stuck on
ships are always looking for ways to communicate with their friends and
families. They often go months without any connections with the family because
of low connectivity. They can only connect with their families once they come
to port. To remedy this the first WiFi for international sailors onboard ships
have been launched.
The situation got
even more problematic in the pandemic as seafarers couldn’t get to port because
of COVID restrictions.
Trials of WiFi on cargo ships in the middle of the sea
An Australian tech
company has come to the rescue of seafarers by conducting trials of WiFi on
cargo ships in the middle of the sea. The WiFi was launched onboard a cargo
shipsof Gladstone Port in Australia. The ships were 20kms away from ports and
A joint project
has been launched for this purpose which will eventually help to enhance
seafarers wellbeing and welfare. The company is planning to further expand the
project to other ports and remote communities
Prepaid service cost at sea is quite high which the seafarers can’t
Jessica Mulhall, the Gladstone manager of Mission To Seafarers, this initiative
is crucial for seafarers as they are deprived of internet access on the high
seas because of extremely high prepaid cost. The prepaid service cost at sea is
quite high which the seafarers can’t afford at their wages.
“The second they
were able to access their phones they all stepped outside to have that private
moment with their families and speak to them,” she said.
Craig Walker, the
Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) who was present on the first trial of the
device echoed similar sentiments.
“When we turned it on we
saw the excitement in some of their faces. One of the first crew members that I
saw looked at a little video of his daughter and his face lit up, and he was
showing his crewmates”, Walker said.